Summer of the Monkeys

Summer of the Monkeys

by Wilson Rawls


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From the author of the beloved classic Where the Red Fern Grows comes a timeless adventure about a boy who discovers a tree full of monkeys.

   The last thing fourteen-year-old Jay Berry Lee expects to find while trekking through the Ozark Mountains of Oklahoma is a tree full of monkeys. But then Jay learns from his grandpa that the monkeys have escaped from a traveling circus, and there’s a big reward for the person who finds and returns them.
   His family could really use the money, so Jay sets off, determined to catch them. But by the end of the summer, Jay will have learned a lot more than he bargained for—and not just about monkeys.
   From the beloved author of Where the Red Fern Grows comes another memorable adventure novel filled with heart, humor, and excitement.

Honors and Praise for Wilson Rawls’ Where the Red Fern Grows:
A School Library Journal Top 100 Children’s Novel
An NPR Must-Read for Kids Ages 9 to 14
Winner of 4 State Awards
Over 7 million copies in print!

A rewarding book . . . [with] careful, precise observation, all of it rightly phrased.” —The New York Times Book Review
One of the great classics of children’s literature . . . Any child who doesn’t get to read this beloved and powerfully emotional book has missed out on an important piece of childhood for the last 40-plus years.” —Common Sense Media
An exciting tale of love and adventure you’ll never forget.” —School Library Journal

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780440415800
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Publication date: 12/28/1998
Series: Bantam Starfire Books Series
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 31,879
Product dimensions: 7.66(w) x 5.16(h) x 0.72(d)
Lexile: 810L (what's this?)
Age Range: 8 - 12 Years

About the Author

Wilson Rawls is the author of the timeless classic Where the Red Fern Grows and the acclaimed novel Summer of the Monkeys. He was born on a small farm in the Ozark Mountains and spent much of his boyhood roaming northeastern Oklahoma with his only companion, an old bluetick hound.
   Since its publication more than fifty years ago, Where the Red Fern Grows has assumed the status of a classic and has been made into a widely acclaimed motion picture. Rawls' second novel, Summer of the Monkeys, received rave reviews and won the prestigious California Young Reader Medal Award, among other accolades.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Up until I was fourteen years old, no boy on earth could have been happier. I didn't have a worry in the world. In fact, I was beginning to think that it wasn't going to be hard at all for me to grow up. But just when things were really looking good for me, something happened. I got mixed up with a bunch of monkeys and all of my happiness flew right out the window. Those monkeys all but drove me out of my mind.

If I had kept this monkey trouble to myself, I don't think it would have amounted to much; but I got my grandpa mixed up in it. I felt pretty bad about that because Grandpa was my pal, and all he was trying to do was help me.

I even coaxed Rowdy, my old bluetick hound, into helping me with this monkey trouble. He came out of the mess worse than Grandpa and I did. Rowdy got so disgusted with me, monkeys, and everything in general, he wouldn't even come out from under the house when I called him.

It was in the late 1800s, the best I can remember. Anyhow — at the time, we were living in a brand-new country that had just been opened up for settlement. The farm we lived on was called Cherokee land because it was smack dab in the middle of the Cherokee Nation. It lay in a strip from the foothills of the Ozark Mountains to the banks of the Illinois River in northeastern Oklahoma. This was the last place in the world that anyone would expect to find a bunch of monkeys.

I wasn't much bigger than a young possum when Mama and Papa settled on the land; but after I grew up a little, Papa told me all about it. How he and Mama hadn't been married very long, and were sharecropping in Missouri. They were unhappy, too; because in those days, being a sharecropper was just about as bad as being a hog thief. Everybody looked down on you.

Mama and Papa were young and proud, and to have people look down on them was almost more than they could stand. They stayed to themselves, kept on sharecropping,
and saving every dollar they could; hoping that someday they could buy a farm of their own.

Just when things were looking pretty good for Marna and Papa, something happened.
Mama hauled off and had twins — my little sister Daisy and me.

Papa said that I was born first, and he never saw a healthier boy. I was as pink as a sunburnt huckleberry, and as lively as a young squirrel in a corncrib. It was different with Daisy though. Somewhere along the line something went wrong and she was born with her right leg all twisted up.

The doctor said there wasn't much wrong with Daisy's old leg. It had something to do with the muscles, leaders, and things like that, being all tangled up. He said there were doctors in Oklahoma City that could take a crippled leg and straighten it out as straight as a ramrod. This would cost quite a bit of money though; and money was the one thing that Mama and Papa didn't have.

Mama cried a lot in those days, and she prayed a lot, too; but nothing seemed to do any good. It was bad enough to be stuck there on that sharecropper's farm; but to have a little daughter and a twisted leg, and not be able to do anything for her, hurt worst of all.

Then one day, right out of a clear blue sky, Mama got a letter from Grandpa. She read it and her face turned as white as the bark on a sycamore tree. She sat right down on the dirt floor of our sod house and started laughing and crying all at the same time. Papa said that after he had read the letter, it was all he could do to keep from bawling a little, too.

Grandpa and Grandma were living down in the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. They owned one of those big old country stores that had everything in it. Grandpa wasn't only a storekeeper; he was a trader, too, and a good one. Papa always said that Grandpa was the only honest trader he ever knew that could trade a terrapin out of its shell.

In his letter, Grandpa told Mama and Papa that he had done some trading with a Cherokee Indian for sixty acres of virgin land, and that it was theirs if they wanted it. All they had to do was come down and make a farm out of it. They could pay him for it any way they wanted to.

Well, the way Mama was carrying on, there wasn't but one thing Papa could do. The next morning, before the roosters started crowing, he took what money they had saved and headed for town. He bought a team of big red Missouri mules and a covered wagon. Then he bought a turning plow, some seed corn, and a milk cow. This took about all the money he had.

It was way in the night when Papa got back home. Mama hadn't even gone to bed. She had everything they owned packed, and was ready to go. They were both so eager to get away from that sharecropping farm that they started loading the wagon by moonlight.

The last thing Papa did was to make a two-baby cradle. He took Mama's old washtub and tied a short piece of rope to each handle. To give the cradle a little bit of bounce, he tied the ropes to two cultivator springs and hung the whole contraption to the bows inside the covered wagon.

Mama thought that old washtub was the best baby cradle she had ever seen. She filled it about half full of corn shucks and quilts, and then put Daisy and me down in it.

After taking one last look at the sod house, Papa cracked the whip and they left Missouri for the Oklahoma Territory.

Customer Reviews

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Summer of the Monkeys 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 125 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I like "old" books and i read it when i was 8 and now im twelve and decided to read it once more its a really good book that is clean and exciting
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Summer of the Monkeys By Wilson Rawl's One boy one problem. In Wilson Rawl's Summer of the Monkeys Jay Berry has a problem. One day he is walking through the river bottoms and he sees a monkey! A real life monkey! So Jay Berry tells his grandpa and finds out these are circus monkeys. Grandpa says that the train that the monkeys were on crashed down by the bottoms and about 30 monkeys escaped. They are even worth money! Well it is back in the old days so the little monkeys are worth $2 and the BIG monkey is worth $100!!! Cha! Ching! Jay Berry has to catch those monkeys! Read the book to see how Jay Berry catches those monkeys. I would recommend this book to 3rd grade and up. This book is full of laugh out loud things. I like this book because it is hilarious.
Zennia More than 1 year ago
This is an excellent book. Anyone at any age would enjoy it. It is funny and light hearted with a wonderful story and a sweet ending. I loved this book. I enjoyed it so much I have sent it to my grandaugters. I know they will enjoy it as much as I did.
Just_Learning More than 1 year ago
I am currently reading this to my boys. They are loving it! They actually laugh out loud! It's a classic story about a boy and his dog trying to catch some circus monkeys that escaped from a train wreck. They have quite the experiences as they go head-to-head with the "$100 monkey"! I highly suggest this book to kids of any age.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this in third grade and now im in 6th grade. I remember reading the book then watching the movie. Its like 200 pgs. But a awesome book!! Id recomand it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of my all time favorite books
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was amazing. I love it . It is so funny.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book in 6th grade it was ok but would have been better in a littler grade i read this book in couple hours
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This movie was so gooooood:) and as we all know the books are always the best and,that is true:):):):):):):):):):):):):)
Daniel Huff More than 1 year ago
This was one of the best books i have ever read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm reading this to my 4 children ages 5 to 12. They get to laughing so hard! Sometimes I can hardly read when I get the giggles too. The movie is great too but the book is obviously better. :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I remember having to read this when i was in fifth grade. I despised reading back then, so i did not enjoy the book. However, thinking back on it, i think that it was a good book. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My brother said he would read this book over the summer but he never did seems like a boring book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Another classic by Wilson Rawls. This is an amazing funny book that I seriously recommend for ages 9 and up
Christy Salyer More than 1 year ago
this book is so hilarious i loved every minute of it a great classic for kids annd adults
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Summer of the Monkeys is a hilarious book about monkeys who escape from the circus. Jay Berry is trying to catch them so he can buy himself a pony and a gun, a .45 (whatever that means). Jay¿s grandfather helps him come up with a variety of clever schemes to catch the monkeys. Each time, however, the monkeys manage to evade being caught because they are smarter than expected. When they escape it leads to a whirlwind of funny events, such as drunken monkeys and monkey attacks. The setting is in the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma in the late 1800s. I would consider this book a comedy because it is really funny. The theme of this book is about life in general and shows that sometimes you have to sacrifice things you really want in order to help others. I can¿t tell exactly what I mean by this because it will give away the ending. Other lessons it teaches are responsibility and commitment. This book is about growing up and throughout the book Jay is going from a boy to a man. He starts taking responsibility for his actions and thinking before he acts. I like this book because it always keeps you wondering. There is always an air of danger because Daisy (Jay¿s sister) loves to make up stories to scare Jay. Also, throughout the book, when Jay¿s grandfather comes up with crazy ways to catch the monkeys, you are rooting for Jay to catch them, but you also want the monkeys to get away because it is so funny and you want to know what other crazy, clever schemes his Grandfather will come up with. I really liked this book because it keeps you on the edge of you seat and it is as though you are there with Jay trying to catch the monkeys. I would recommend this book to anybody who likes the outdoors and is a laid back person because it is definitely not a serious book. I would also recommend other books by this author because I liked how he makes you feel as if you are there in the novel with Jay. I really like the humor too.
Anonymous 7 months ago
This book is amazing and I am so pleased it is available to anyone. So much of life today is moving so fast like a rushing river it seems hard sometimes to come up for air. Thank goodness for books like this. What a breath of fresh air.
Homeschools8 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A dog, a boy, a Grandpa and some monekys who escaped from the circus train...One of my favorites that I have shared with my kids. They love it too.
Cyphred on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The author used great literary tools through the book. The author used alliteration and metaphors to emphasize parts. Even though Jay gave away the money he was going to use to buy his horse, he spent it on his sister instead. In the end, he got his horse and gun anyway.
caltstatt on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is one of my all-time favorite books. Jay Berry Lee lives with his mother, father, and twin sister, Daisy, in Oklahoma. Jay has a good life, but he wishes for a pony and .22 rifle as any boy does. His mother and father wish for Daisy to have an operation that would fix her twisted leg. One day while searching for the milk cow, Jay finds some monkeys in the river bottoms. He finds out there is a handsome reward for the monkeys and cooks up a plan with his grandpa to catch them. The monkeys turn out to be pretty smart and outwit Jay and his dog, Rowdy, several times. My favorite part is where the monkeys coax Jay into drinking whiskey from a still and he comes home drunk. Jay finally gets the monkeys because of a terrible storm that almost kills them. He gets the reward money, but instead of buying his pony and .22, he gives the money to his parents for Daisy's surgery. This is an awesome book to read to elementary students. Boys and girls alike love this book and it was a must read for my students each year. They can connect to this book and even though it is funny, they can learn from Jay how to handle problems and be more responsible.
booksandwine on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Jay Berry Lee wants a pony and a .22 more than anything in the world. One summer he gets a chance to make the amount of money required to get the pony and the .22. A circus train wrecks, and a car full of monkeys is on the loose in the Ozarks. Jay Berry and his trusty hound, Rowdy decide to take on the monkeys, which turn out to be smarter than they are. Other characters which pepper this book include Jay's sister Daisy who is crippled but can see spirits, Jay's mother and father, and his Grandparents. This book was decent although I feel at certain parts the overall feel was ruined with religion. I mean, did Rawls really need to put in the bible-thump undertone, or could he have just left this book as the simple story of a boy and his dog out catching monkeys?I do recommend this book to children though. The story is delightful, and simple. This would be a great book to read out loud.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The 'free sample' is very cute, but something being wrong with Daisy was very peerdictable•
MQoS More than 1 year ago
I read this book every year to my students. They LOVE it. It is my favorite read-aloud book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago